The best $20 I've ever spent in...

The best $20 I've ever spent in... Rome

    • Thinking of a Roman holiday? Get ready for a delightful overload of pizzas, piazzas and palazos. Go back in time as you wander through the Colosseum, soak up the beauty of the Pantheon, marvel at Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and throw a coin to make a wish at the Trevi Fountain! Pinch yourself back into the present as you buy yourself a sinful scoop of gelato and find a spot on the Spanish Steps to people watch. Spend your evenings at a street cafe with those charming red checkered tablecloths and order a bottle of wine as you chat up the locals. With so many extraordinary experiences in the Eternal City, it can be tricky to keep that travel budget in place - that’s why we’ve collected a list of thrifty travel tips that won’t cost more than $20! Talking of travel advice, don’t forget that Rome has a reputation for petty thieves and pickpockets, so never leave your bags unattended and make sure you have the right travel insurance for Europe!


  • Markets at Campo de’ Fiori 

    “Get a taste of the local market”

    Buy some bread from a local bakery and go to the flea market at Campo de’ Fiori in the morning! You’ll get to sample some of the yummiest of olive oils and balsamic vinegars at the market every day. The bread won’t cost you much and the vibe is great to experience the city’s culture. While you're there, also hop by the Villa Borghese to see famous works of art by Caravaggio, Berninin and Titian. 
    Author: Sam Fielder

  • Picnic at Borghese Gardens 

    “Picnic at Borghese Gardens”

    One of Rome’s favourite picnic spots - the Borghese Gardens are the perfect location for a lazy afternoon with friends. Just take a blanket and fill your picnic basket with cheese and cured meats for beautiful summer day!   
    Author: Richard Hassett

  • Coffee from a stand-up cafe

    “Just don’t order a cappuccino in the afternoon!”

    Grab a shot of espresso on the go instead of getting a table at a cafe because you’ll have to pay more for that - €2.5 instead of €1! A word of advice: Italians strictly look down upon anyone having a cappuccino after lunch, so don’t be surprised if your order for an afternoon cap is met with a disapproving look!
    Author: Jess Barros

  • Explore the Vatican Museum

    “Free on the last Sunday of every month”

    Normally it costs €16, but if you go on the last Sunday of the month, you can actually explore the Vatican Museum for free! Considering the kind of masterpieces it houses, it’s an absolute treasure trove for any art or history enthusiast. You can easily spend hours ambling from one hall to the other.  
    Author: Ian Lee

  • Gelato on the Spanish Steps

    “Savour every moment”

    With a famous gelataria at every step in Rome, you can hardly go wrong with a scoop of gelato! My favourite flavour is Cappuccino, although Tiramisu comes a close second. And it just gets that much more charming if you manage to find yourself a spot on the Spanish Steps to get a good view of the city and its people. While literally any gelataria is likely to be top quality, one of my favourties close to the Spanish Steps is the Ciampin. At about €2 - 2.50 for a scoop, it’s great value for money!     
    Author: Shubhda Khanna

  • Drinks with free food 

    “Bon aperitivo!”

    I love the unique Italian concept of apertivo! This basically means that anytime between 6pm and 9pm many restaurants and bars serve free food if you order an alcoholic drink. So if you order a drink, which could cost anywhere from €8-€12, you’ll get a snack like potato chips, salad, sandwiches and in some cases, even pizzas and pastas to munch along with your drink.     
    Author: Emma Webb